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Photoprotection and xanthophyll-cycle activity in three marine diatoms
Dimier, C.; Corato, F.; Tramontano, F.; Brunet, C. (2007). Photoprotection and xanthophyll-cycle activity in three marine diatoms. J. Phycol. 43(5): 937-947
In: Journal of Phycology. Blackwell Science: New York. ISSN 0022-3646; e-ISSN 1529-8817, meer
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Dimier, C., meer
  • Corato, F.
  • Tramontano, F.
  • Brunet, C., meer

    Light is one of the most important factors affecting marine phytoplankton growth, and its variability in time and space strongly influences algal performance and success. The hypothesis tested in this work is that the activity of the xanthophyll cycle and the development of nonphotochemical quenching could be considered a functional trait of algal diversity. If this hypothesis is true, a relationship must exist between fast-activated pigment variations linked to photoprotective behavior and the ecology of the species. This assumption was tested on three diatoms: Skeletonema marinoi Sarno et Zingone, Thalassiosira rotula Meunier, and Chaetoceros socialis Lauder. These three diatoms occupy different ecological niches. Strains of these diatoms were subjected to five changes in irradiance. Xanthophyll-cycle activity, quantum yield of fluorescence, and electron transport rate were the main parameters determined. There were marked interspecific differences in xanthophyll-cycle activity, and these differences were dependent on the light history of the cells. Chaetoceros socialis responded efficiently to changing irradiance, which might relate to its dominance during the spring bloom in some coastal areas. In contrast, T. rotula responded with a slower photoprotection activation, which seems to reflect its more offshore ecological distribution. The photoresponse of S. marinoi (a late-winter coastal species blooming in the Adriatic Sea) was light-history dependent, becoming photoinhibited under high light when acclimated to low light, but capable of reaching a high photoprotection level when acclimated to moderate light. Our hypothesis on the photoprotection capacity as a functional trait in microalgae seems to be validated given the results of this study.

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